After a week in the 'Outback' of Australia via Rent-a Car; the send-off from Sydney Harbor with the Opera House and Bridge as backdrops was simply magical. The Star is large-very large as cruise ships go. We found the ship to be spic-n-span and quite fresh and the itinerary was wonderful!! Where to start? Itinerary: As we drove ourself into the Outback for a week; ours was not a typical sojourn; i.e. motorcoaches, guided tours etc. The Blue Mts. just beyond Sydney are similar to the Great Smokies of the USA. Melbourne has wonderful vineyard tours and Wildlife parks to visits as does Adelaide. Hobart, Tasmania has very green forested environs and a great chance to get up close and personal with sheep shearers etc. The Fiordland of New Zealand was quite spectacular w/misty waterfalls; and the voyage across the Tasman Sea was surprisingly calm. All of New Zealand is scenic in that Ireland/Scotland sort of way...settled but yet quite rural. Shipwise:
The Star was just fine amenities-wise. We liked it. It does NOT have a high-end $$ boutique formal ambiance, but rather a middle of the road style for a middle-of-the-road clientele that reminds one of being in a Hyatt or Radisson Hotel with water all round!! Food for 2600 passengers' tastes would be a challenge for anyone methinks, but again- think Hyatt brunch or a Morton's Steakhouse experience at best. 'Nuff said there. The swimming pools were all heated and the spas were about 99 to 100 F. Poolside weather was good to very good. Beer and coolers were cold and service was A-OK. Nighttime entertainment catered to the typical retired Anglo crowd, with a good Italian singer Mauricio, ala Elton John/Englebert for good measure in the piano bar. The Big stage-show 'Da Beat' was very good. A Jazz/Swing flavor that nearly everyone said was a cut above most. Now, So what's Not to like?? Big ships are not big for our benefit (in my humble opinion). Economics and Bottom-line profit dictates a trend to Big....Real Big.. We always carried a map of the ship with us. Want a High-dollar $$, more intimate experience? Go Crystal or Seven Seas. Want to actually 'afford' it? and have money left over for a new Chevy Tahoe when you get home?? Then this Star Princess version of cruising should suit you. But if you need to talk shop about Lear-jets and Rolls- Royces with people of similar tastes..No. One more Negative here before closing. The baggage and Airport Security and transfers and waiting and papers and tickets and waiting and more security; you get the picture, is getting burdensome especially for the elderly as I saw it. I am willing to put up with it; but many appeared exhausted if not outright bewildered. But hey, I and my wife had a great time and that's what mattered to us!!!